December 16 , 2009


Nature and Culture


As any scientist will tell you, there is no substance more vital than water. Our history is necessarily a history with water, whether we have irrigated our fields with it, cooled our machines, washed ourselves, drank it down deeply, or even worshipped it. In Water, Veronic Strang ladles through the rich history of our interaction with water, offering an accessible examination of the crucial properties that make water so unique alongside the complex story of our evolving relationship with it.
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As Strang shows, our attitudes about water and the things that we rely on it for have changed dramatically over time. Once a mystical source of regenerative powers, it has since played various roles as our attitudes about hygiene, health, and disease have developed; as it has become useful to our industry; as agriculture has become ever more complex; and, of course, as we have learned to make money from it. Today water—who controls it, and how—is one of the largest issues facing our society, influencing everything from the welfare of the billions of people living on earth to the vitality of its natural habitats. Balancing history, science, and environmental and cultural studies, Strang offers an important, multi-faceted view of a critical resource. 
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